Tag Archives: discipleship

Love Eternal

A pen never knows what it will write, a brush never knows what it will paint and a chisel never knows what it will sculpt. When God takes someone into his hands in order to accomplish a new work in his Church, the person doesn’t know what she will do. I think this might be my case: I’m only the tool. ~Chiara Lubich

A year ago I began working with a company in Beijing. I love the job, but it means my work schedule is a bit earlier than most Americans. Because of that, I haven’t seen the news in a year.

I now subscribe to a news source that provides a quick read of what’s going on in the world. I can usually get through it in ten minutes or so and have a basic idea of what is happening here and abroad.

Sometimes I regret that.

A few days ago I read through the headlines and fell to my knees in prayer. Poland was having a Supremacy March. An earthquake in Iran and Iraq killed hundreds of people just as winter is beginning. Thousands have been killed in the Philippines drug trade. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Yemen are starving people and threatening war. Women are coming forward in unprecedented numbers to expose sexual harassment and exploitation.

The world is a tragic, sinful place.

In the early 1940’s a young Italian woman also fell to her knees. Chiara Lubich wondered what it would be like if everyone showed love. In a world where bombs fell because of hatred and greed, Chiara wanted love and peace to fall instead. Her desire turned into a movement- Focolare -that is practiced in 182 countries today.

What do they do?

Show love 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Love neighbors, enemies, strangers, and brothers.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Chiara will be remembered for the love she showed and the movement she created.

God doesn’t ask us to start a movement that circles the world. He asks us to love, right where we are.

My grandmother will be remembered for years because she sent food to a family who had less than her own. My grandfather is remembered for saying hello to everyone he met on the street. My friend, Larry, will be remembered for extending a hand of friendship to criminals and druggies. I have friends that I will always remember for asking about my children, for helping me with needs, for listening, for praying, for being inside my life instead of on the edges.

You don’t have to stop a war. You don’t have to rescue disaster victims. You don’t even have to start a movement.

You do have to love the least of these. (Mt. 25:40)

What have you done today to love?

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:30-32 NIV

What Kind of Belly Dancer Are You?

belly-dance-323313__180A couple months ago I signed up for belly dance lessons. I thought it would be fun. I thought it would be mildly difficult. I thought I could figure it out quickly. I don’t know what I was thinking!

Belly dance is beautiful to watch. It is graceful, elegant, controlled, and sensual. My class is filled with people who have been taking lessons for years. That means I often feel left behind and inept.

I have had fun learning what it takes to be a belly dancer, but a lot of it is not so fun. Bending my knees until my thighs shake and tremble with the effort, stepping on the ball of my recently healed broken foot, holding my arms up until they ache. . . yeah, not so fun.

Mildly difficult is not even close. You watch belly dancers and think, Oh, they’re moving their spine and their hips, and then the teacher comes by and holds your back and hips still while you are instructed on which tiny muscle is actually controlling that movement. And though some of you may think you can move your hips and arms at the same time, I dare you to move your hips left to right and one arm frontward and the other backward. Pat your head and rub your belly has nothing on belly dance.

Last week we spent the entire lesson on moving sideways. Let’s just say I will need lessons for years to come before I figure this out. There is no “quick” way to learn.

Sunday is Easter. Some of you will head to church because you are Christians and Easter is a pretty big deal in Christianity. Besides Christmas, it is THE Christian event.

You may not have been to church in a few weeks, months maybe. You haven’t read the Bible in over a year. You’ve been to a handful of Bible studies, but you aren’t sure what they’re studying right now. If someone asked your neighbor if you are a Christian, they’d probably answer, “I don’t know. A nice person, yes.”

You, my friend, are a belly dancing Christian wanna-be. You think it looks good, sounds fun (who doesn’t think chocolate rabbits are fun?). You sway your hips, move your spine, but the Teacher comes by and grabs hold. Just move this part.


Yeah. Christianity is hard, and it takes time. And when people look at real disciples, the kind who go to dance class for years, they think, Looks easy. I can do that. And really they can, but not if they only dance on Easter and Christmas.

If you are really going to dance for Jesus, really be a dancing disciple, it’s going to take some work.

But when you start to learn, and you’re practicing while fixing your hair in the morning mirror, and your arm actually does what it is supposed to do, well, then . . . You’ll be having FUN!

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG